Affinity Award winners announced
The Sector > Provider > General News > Affinity Award winners announced, honouring nearly 50 of the Affinity team

Affinity Award winners announced, honouring nearly 50 of the Affinity team

by Freya Lucas

January 02, 2024

Winners of the 2023 Affinity Awards have been announced, with nearly 50 early education professionals and centre teams honoured, recognised, rewarded and celebrated for excellence. 


“Our 2023 Affinity Awards have easily been our biggest celebration to date, and it has been an absolute thrill to see the excitement, positivity and rewards provided to our teams after a massive year for the sector,” CEO Tim Hickey said. 


The Awards commenced in 2015, with recognition of the six key Affinity Values, and core quality, education and management categories. Since that time the program has expanded to include recognition of the work being done by trainees, cooks, educators and centre management teams, along with additional categories added to allow nominations and winners for educators who have embraced Affinity’s Lifelong Learning Curriculum


“No matter how many people are on our national team, our Affinity Values unite us and that was one of the obvious highlights of the awards,” Mr Hickey said.  


“Our promise to our people is potential, realised and seeing the quality and talent across our centres highlighted by these awards has been a fantastic way to end 2023.” 


The 2023 Affinity Awards featured 


  • 32 Categories 
  • More than 600 nominations generated for individual cooks, trainees, educators, early childhood teachers and Centre Managers  
  • State final events hosted by State and Territory Managers in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, Canberra, New South Wales and Victoria 
  • A National final event attended online by more than 300 employees  


CEO’s Choice Award 


The CEO’s Choice Award was won by Queensland State Manager Carissa (Caz Laramy) who joined the company in late 2022 and now leads a team comprising ten Area Managers and more than 1000 employees across the state. 


“Caz has done a magnificent job this year in bringing the state together and uniting our Queensland teams in line with our Affinity Value of Being Completely Connected, and her business acumen is balanced with genuine empathy and care for our people, which makes her a fantastic leader,” Mr Hickey said. 


Best Centre Managers 


In 2023, for the first time the Affinity Award for Best Centre Manager was given to two Centre Managers – Roshani Shetty from Milestones Early Learning Tarneit, and Sophie Cheung from Papilio Early Learning Epping. 


The Best Centre Manager is awarded on the basis of multiple elements including peer nomination, business performance, National Quality Rating, and leadership.  


Affinity Values Awards 


Following State Finalists announcements the week prior, six centres were named as National Finalists in the Affinity Values Awards.  


“These centres are recognised for living our Affinity Values – and the result is centres which really have a special place in their local communities, and strong teams who deliver quality early education,” Mr Hickey said. 


  • Creating Shining Stars Milestones Early Learning Canning Vale WA 
  • Delivering Outstanding Professionalism Milestones Early Learning Points Cook, VIC 
  • Being Completely Connected Milestones Early Learning Everton Park, QLD 
  • Living the Team Spirit Kids Academy Rivett ACT 
  • Going Above and Beyond Milestones Early Learning Middle Swan WA 
  • Having Serious Fun Kids Academy Early Learning Spring Farm NSW


2023 National Affinity Awards Winners

State Manager Awards


Queensland, New South Wales, Victorian, ACT and Northern Territory State Manager’s were asked to make nominations in the State Manager’s Choice awards, which were given as follows: 


  • Kathy Wilson, Area Manager – QLD 02
  • Jess Panek, Centre Manager – Milestones Early Learning Caloundra, QLD
  • Jade Seabury, Area Manager – NSW 05
  • Samantha Cummins, Area Manager – NSW 04
  • Pree Kaur, Centre Manager – Milestones Early Learning Point Cook, VIC
  • Roshani Shetty, Centre Manager – Milestones Early Learning Tarneit, VIC
  • Angela Albrey, Centre Manager – Milestones Early Learning Middle Swan, WA
  • Harmandip Kaur, Centre Manager – Milestones Early Learning Parap, NT
  • Sonia Batisstel, Assistant Centre Manager – Paplio Early Learning Turner, ACT


Education and Care Awards 


  • Trainee of the Year: Georgia Lane, Milestones Early Learning Elderslie, NSW 


  • Educational Leaders of the Year:

Sarah Burgess, Queensland 

Aparna Aravind, Victoria 


  • Lead Educator of the Year: Natalie Pandelidis, Milestones Early Learning Greensborough, VIC 
  • Lifelong Learning Curriculum – Nursery Educator of the Year: Tara Hartnett, Papilio Early Learning Ingleburn, NSW 
  • Lifelong Learning Curriculum – Toddler Educator of the Year: Kaleopy Kypreos, Milestones Early Learning Parap, NT 
  • Lifelong Learning Curriculum – School Readiness Educator of the Year: Mounita Biswas, Papilio Early Learning Robina, QLD 
  • Early Childhood Teacher of the Year: Caroline Schaap, Milestones Early Learning Ringwood, VIC 


  • Cook of the Year: Daniel Try, Papilio Early Learning Hornsby, NSW 
  • Safety Leader of the Year: Natalie Baker, Queensland 


Most Improved & Excellence Awards 


  • Most improved in Early Education: Milestones Early Learning Point Cook VIC 
  • Excellence in Early Education: Milestones Early Learning Tarneit, VIC 
  • Most Improved in Quality: Milestones Early Learning Leanyer, NT 
  • Excellence in Quality: Milestones Early Learning Tarneit, VIC 
  • Most Improved in Safety and Compliance: Kids Academy Early Learning Glenmore Park, NSW 
  • Excellence in Safety and Compliance: Milestones Early Learning Hoxton Park, NSW 
  • Most Improved in Occupancy: Milestones Early Learning Edgewater, WA 
  • Excellence in Occupancy: Kids Academy Early Learning Erina Heights, NSW 
  • Most Improved in Labour Management: Papilio Early Learning Pitt Town, NSW 
  • Excellence in Labour Management: Milestones Early Learning Capalaba, QLD 
  • Most Improved in People Development: Papilio Early Learning Bella Vista, NSW 
  • Excellence in People Development: Milestones Early Learning Pacific Paradise, QLD 


  • Most Improved in Customer Service:  
    • Milestones Early Learning Wyndham Vale, VIC
    • Papilio Early Learning Wakerley, QLD 


  • Excellence in Customer Service: Papilio Early Learning Coombabah, QLD 
  • Most Improved in Business Performance: Papilio Early Learning Reedy Creek, QLD 
  • Excellence in Business Performance – QLD: Papilio Early Learning Currumbin, QLD 
  • Excellence in Business Performance – ACT: Papilio Early Learning Bruce, ACT 
  • Excellence in Business Performance – VIC: Milestones Early Learning Greensborough, VIC 
  • Excellence in Business Performance – WA: Milestones Early Learning Dalyellup, WA 
  • Excellence in Business Performance – NT: Milestones Early Learning Wagaman, NT 
  • Excellence in Business Performance NSW & Overall National Winner: Kids Academy Preschool, NSW 


Management Awards 


  • Best Assistant Centre Manager – National Winner: Chloe Hammer – Milestones Early Learning West Kinross, WA 
  • Most Improved Centre Manager: Tamara James – Milestones Early Learning Gulliver 


Learn more about Affinity Education Group here

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